Welcome to FJ's special feature on local women-owned businesses! We are thrilled to have joined hands with some inspirational brands and we are so excited to share their stories with you.
- What is the name of your business and how long has it been around?
Baskiti initially started out as a Hanging Storage Basket but soon expanded into wall hooks, mask hooks, basket liners and market veggie totes. All of these products works with each other to deliver an all-inclusive experience that’s both gorgeous and gets the job done.
We launched during Lockdown with pre-orders to ascertain if people would actually buy the product. However we officially launched Friday 10 July (on my husband’s birthday!) and we are sold out of our launch products. We are extremely humbled and grateful for everyone’s support. Here I thought my mom will have to shop all our baskets. Haha!
- How did the idea for your business come about?
It was during the 21 day Lockdown in South Africa that my (then) 14 month old son felt he needed to embrace and fully express his ‘love for sports’ by using our potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions as balls! “Originally it was actually very funny and we laughed it off. However after a few days and many squishy potatoes, we knew there had to be a solution”. Baskiti was born. A gorgeous range of handwoven hanging baskets delivering a solution to a problem no-one even knew they had. From there, it grew authentically into a larger brand with Baskiti accessories and another division, Baskiti Wall Hooks.
- Can you provide us with a description of your business?
Baskiti is a beautiful range of handwoven hanging baskets, designed with purpose and design aesthetics in mind. A big focus has been placed on understated elegance which is clear in all Baskiti’s simple designs. The initial concept was inspired by the founder, Jana Leonard’s son, after he used all their vegetables as balls, she knew there had to be a simple solution – Baskiti was born. As a second phase in development, the Baskiti team has now launched Baskiti Wall Hooks, a natural next step. A beautiful simple J-Hook design is made to carry the Baskiti Basket and very innovatively we have just launched The Baskiti Mask Hooks which houses 5 single masks on top of your normal 5 hooks. We have also just launched our Baskiti Veggie Tote which is a beautiful handmade Tote perfect for your next Farmers Market shop.
- Who is the person(s) behind your business and what is your background (ie education, work experience, life experience)?
I am the founder of Baskiti and my husband manages everything from design through to manufacturing of Baskiti Wall Hooks – a division within the Baskiti brand. I have a degree in PR and have been in the industry for more than 10 years. I run my own PR Agency called Jack & Jill Communications and we specialise within the lifestyle consumer market.
In addition to J&J and Baskiti, I am also working with another incredible PR on another amazing network platform, The PR Hustle.
I am a wife, a mom and an entrepreneur and strive to make a difference where-ever I go. I am inspired by other incredible entrepreneurs and telling stories of brands makes my heart so happy! I love incredible wine from www.wijnbar.co.za, phenomenal food, nature, keeping active and playing with my son but travelling is at the top of my list – any day, anytime!
I keep busy!
- Do you have a team behind the scenes or are you a one woman show? If you have a team, please share a little with us about them?
I am the founder of Baskiti but we have an entire team of suppliers supporting my husband and I. We call Axel (our 18 month old) our quality controller as he gets so excited about the Baskitis and puts all his toys in them. Haha! My husband, MC, manages all Baskiti Wall Hook design and manufacturing. I manage everything Baskiti – the basket design, suppliers, labels and of course the brand itself. My dad in law handmakes all our Wall Hooks and we have another supplier who manages all our Baskiti Liners and Totes.
Logistically we trade through LMDA Lifestyle which means they manage all our orders, collections, packaging and deliveries. They have an incredible – easy-to-use – platform for small businesses who can’t necessarily spend all their time on their brand / product offering. I run a full time PR Agency, therefore they are like angels sent from above to assist me.
- How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? How do you balance work and family?
I have been an entrepreneur for more than 3 years and honestly it is in my bones! My husband and I made the decision for me to go the unconventional route (haha!) right after we got married (so funny now looking back!). We knew we wanted to start a family soon but I wanted to be certain my business is successful so I don’t have additional stress on top of becoming a new mom. I would have never seen my baby if I stayed in the agency game.
Now, I work 9 – 4 every day (working hours) however as with anything, when there’s a deadline you put in the extra time early in the morning or late at night but I know I get to see my baby grow up and develop. He stays at home with his nanny and our godsend. We would not be able to do what we do without her help – something as simple as putting in laundry, helping with Axel’s dinner and washing his bottles means SO MUCH to a family that works full time.
We manage our time very well and I am proud that both parts of my life gets all my attention when it’s their dedicated time. After 4pm, I’m available on WhatsApp but I am with my son. I also choose my clients which means they know who they get, most have been with me before I became a mom so they know my journey and respect that. MANY are also moms!
- What motivates you?
My family and seeing the success of my clients.
- How do you define success?
Flexibility in my day and being able to choose my own destiny.
- What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I don’t have just one!
The first magical moment was when I launched Jack & Jill Communications. It was my first entrepreneurial endeavour and I knew I had something unique to offer. My second most satisfying moment has to be the launch of Baskiti. I came up with the idea and within 1 week the brand was born and since official launch we have sold out – but I knew it would. Its an incredible product range!
Lastly, the fact that I could self-fund Baskiti was a HUGE achievement for me. I did not take any outside investments and risk losing a part of my business.
- What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love having flexibility in my day – I am there when my family needs me but I am also there when my clients need me. In addition, I get to decide my own road to success. Lastly, I HATE traffic so really that’s the most magical thing for me – I don’t attend any meetings before 10am. Haha!
- What are your future aspirations for this business?
I want to go international – I believe our Baskitis are 100% relevant to apartment living individuals in cities like New York. As you can tell, I don’t just dream big, I get things done! Sometimes I fail but that’s cool, at least I gave it my best.
- If you had a magic wand, which are the three things you would change in the world?
- Life is honestly too short, it’s ok if you don’t like someone, but then you need to stay out of their way not the other way around.
- The alcohol and leisure travel ban. The impact on these industries are far greater than what we can comprehend. I see the pressure on these industries first hand!
- Corruption and arrogance.
Disclaimer: please note that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the above text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the owner of this platform and associated brand.